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McLean County Board

Mclean County Government

McLean County will break ground on its $40 million jail expansion May 5.

Inmate capacity will double to 400.

Michael Hill / WGLT

There's debate on the McLean County Board over how much priority to give improvements at an east side intersection.

County Board members agreed on more discussion for the $1.6 million project at Towanda Barnes and Ireland Grove roads.

CBlue98 / Flickr

McLean County Government is planning a behavioral health forum as part of its continued focus on mental health issues.

County Board Chair John McIntyre said it will be May 18th.

Staff / WGLT

The union representing Metcom workers in McLean County is heading back to the bargaining table with the county right after approval of the latest contract.

That's because the 23 members of the bargaining unit have been working on an expired agreement for more than a year.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

The McLean County Board will keep their monthly meetings scheduled at 9 a.m. despite multiple board members voting against it. 

District Nine Representative Erik Rankin said board members received a large number of phone calls and emails from constituents concerned about the meeting time. 

WGLT Staff

McLean County Board Chairman John McIntyre said the selection of committee members is based on their experiences.

Staff / WGLT

Wind Farm rules gusted back into the McLean County Board room yesterday.

The county has strengthened environmental protections before allowing new wind tower projects to go forward. But, debate over the so-called text amendment to special use permit requirements also covered noise, rural quality of life, and the cost to remove wind towers.

McLean County Government Center
Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

Republican Jacob Beard defeated incumbent McLean County Board member Victoria Harris in District seven.

Beard praised Harris for running a positive issues-oriented race and said he believed his own message of reducing taxes and being fiscally sound resonated with voters in the east side Bloomington district.

McLean County Government

Editor's note: Kimberly Pfeifer did not respond to repeated requests by GLT News for an interview.

McLean County Board candidate Dave Selzer says he agrees with the county's move into mental health services.

McLean County Government

As part of GLT's 2016 Election Coverage, we invited the candidates in contested races to sit for interviews.

Two of the six did not participate in answering questions, some of which were formulated by the League of Women Voters, a non partisan group.

McLean County Government

As part of GLT's 2016 Election Coverage, we invited the candidates in contested races to sit for interviews.

Two of the six did not participate in answering questions, some of which were formulated by the League of Women Voters, a non partisan group.

Staff / WGLT

A former political leader and McLean County board member  has pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in connection with a false billing scheme against State Farm Insurance.

Matt Sorenson was accused of receiving more than four-hundred-thousand-dollars for consulting work never performed.

Staff / WGLT

Former McLean County Board Chair Matt Sorensen is scheduled for a change of plea hearing Wednesday afternoon in Federal Court in Chicago.

That's according to court records.

WGLT

A formal request has come for the McLean County Board to consider initiatives to make county government more open and accessible. 

The issue will go to the Rules Committee.

Members Carlo Robustelli and Josh Barnett drove the letter submitted to the board it, but received several other signatures including those of Chuck Erickson, Katherine Metsker, and Victoria Harris.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

A group of six McLean County Board members has asked for formal consideration of initiatives they claim would enhance transparency and public involvement in county government.
     
Signees of a letter to the board include Carlo Robustelli, Chuck Erickson, Josh Barnett, Victoria Harris, Katherine Metsker, and Erik Rankin. 

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

A new state law that took effect in July has the potential to make life more difficult for County Boards across the state.

McLean County Civil Assistant State's Attorney Don Knapp said the law covers budget adjustments and makes it tougher to change the spending plan.

McLean County Government Center
Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

After an intense and protracted squabble, the McLean County Board approved spending more than $100,000 dollars for a new audio vision system for the county board room.

Opponents argued the matter should be dealt with in the ordinary budgeting process, not as a special or 'emergency' appropriation.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

McLean County government will remain under financial pressure in the next budget year.

County Administrator Bill Wasson has issued a proposal for board review that totals more than 95-million dollars and anticipates further cuts in state funding.

Josh Barnett

New McLean County Board member Josh Barnett said he has already met with all the committee chairs on the board.

Barnett was appointed to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Ben Owens.

McLean County Government Center
Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

McLean County Board members have given a little heat to the building and zoning department over a lack of transparency involving a change to wind farm rules.

And some board members are upset they didn't move up the food chain to chair committees in the wake of the latest shuffle of panel assignments.

Stangboy7 / Wikimedia Commons

A proposed change to rules for siting wind farms in McLean County didn't get very far.

Board member Catherine Metsker took aim at the County Zoning Department for failing to notify townships and cities of the potential change.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Some choices for committee chairs on the McLean County Board caused votes against the package. The Chair's picks for panels usually pass without dissent.

Board member Laurie Wollrab is not fond of Chair John McIntyre's choice of Dave Selzer to head the transportation committee.

McLean County Health Department

The last several weeks have involved a great deal of public turmoil involving a strained relationship between the County Health Department and its Board of Health and the County Board. Investigative efforts by the Bloomington Pantagraph turned up thousands of e-mails among health board members, and Health Department Director Walt Howe with some members of the board scheming to elect their slate of officers friendly to Howe's position.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The McLean County Board has approved an additional 216,000 dollars for the County Clerk to cope with increased administrative demands caused by the same day voter registration law.

The move comes in response to three plus hour wait times at precincts on the campus of Illinois State University during primary voting in March.

McLean County Board Member Owens Resigns

Jun 14, 2016
Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

Republican Benjamin Owens will resign from his post at the McLean County Board. Owens has represented District 10 on the east side of Bloomington since 2000, but former county Republican Party Vice Chairman Josh Barnett defeated him with over 68% of the vote during the Illinois primary last March.

Owens is Chairman of the Finance Committee and also serves on the Executive and Property Committees. He submitted his Letter of Resignation during an Executive Committee meeting, with plans to leave office June 30.

Jacob DeGeal

The Democratic Party in McLean County has slated a couple County Board candidates for the November election. Jessielee Hinshaw will face GOP incumbent George Wendt in the southwest side district 3. That district tends to favor Republicans.

Hinshaw lives on a farm and works for the Illinois Network for Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies. Hinshaw says in a party news release she wants to focus on transportation infrastructure, government transparency, and mental health services. Hinshaw says the Illinois Policy Institute ranks McLean County low in government transparency.

Charlie Schlenker

The McLean County Republican Party has slated Scott Murphy in the District Two County Board race. urphy is already serving on the board after he was appointed following the resignation of Matt Sorensen.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

It's an election year and pay raises are difficult things to pass when people are on the ballot. So it proved on the McLean County Board when members turned down a two percent pay hike amounting to about ninety eight dollars per year.

Charlie Schlenker / Schlenker

A move to cut the McLean County Coroner's salary by six percent has failed soundly. Outgoing County Board member Ben Owens made the motion, saying new hires in businesses often come in at a lower rate than their predecessors. Owens framed the proposal as a money saving move for taxpayers.

McLean County Considering Fixes For Voting Problems

Apr 26, 2016
Michael Hill / WGLT

A solution to the long wait times and registration issues experienced by voters at Illinois State University's Bone Student Center is still in progress. The McLean County Board Finance Commitee held a special meeting at ISU to address concerns from people in the community.

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